Tightest conclusion to the J/109 Nationals
With gusts close to 20 knots ripping through Plymouth Sound, the final day of the J-Cup 2013 In Partnership With B&G, produced some fine action for 47 examples of the J-Boats range. The event included the Lifedge J/109 UK National Championship which this year concluded with the closest finish in its 10 year history.
In IRC One, Jamie Arnell's J/111 Jeez-Louise finished the regatta in style, winning the last race to take the class title from Tony Mack's J/111 McFly. Jackie and Robert Dobson's J/133 Jeronimo revelled in the big breeze winning race seven and finished third in class.
In the J/70 Class, Ruairidh Scott's North Sails conducted a master class of sportsboat racing, winning the class with straight bullets and a race to spare. However, it was a highly rewarding experience for the entire J/70 Class as the North Sails team was happy to share its knowledge dockside after racing. Nigel Passmore's Apollo 6 finished second and the young team on Mike Flood's J7t won the last race of the day to secure third for the regatta.
In IRC Two Stuart Sawyer's Cornish team on J/97 Black Dog was unstoppable all week, scoring seven wins out of eight races. Victories in both IRC Two and the Lombard J/97 UK National Championship, made it the deserving winner of the J-Cup overall winner’s trophy. “A lot of effort has gone into preparing the boat and the crew for this regatta and all of that hard work has paid off,” said Sawyer. “There are some great regattas in the West Country but this is by far the most competitive regatta we have raced this season and we had to be at the very top of our game to win it.”
Chaz Ivill's J/97 ETB TYRES Jiggery Pokery was second in IRC 2 with Andy Howe's J/92 BlackJack finishing third.
In an extremely close J/105 class, just four points separated the top three boats at the end of racing on Friday. A win for Chris Jones’ Journeymaker in the final race, her third bullet of the regatta, was not enough to beat Andy Robert’s Jin & Tonic, which never placed outside of the top two throughout the three days.
The conclusion of the Lifedge J/109 UK National Championship was close. Going into the last day, six yachts had a chance of becoming National Champion and after the final race, the top four yachts were separated by just a single point. In the penultimate race, David Richards' Jumping Jellyfish was leading by a handsome margin, but hit the top mark and but seven places performing its turns. Todd Well's Je Vante went on to win the race to stake a claim for the title. Thus everything hung on the final race.
In the final round, a general recall had the race officer hoisting the Black Flag for the restart and Iain Mackinnon's Tigh Solius II was over early and disqualified. Later in the race, Je Vante caught a spinnaker sheet around her prop, slowing her speed but more drama followed when Tony Dickin's Jubilee was leading the race with David Rolfe's Shadowfax and Jumping Jellyfish not far behind. It was too complex a picture to work out on the race course, as the leading yachts concentrated on boat speed to get through the finish line right outside the Royal Western Yacht Club.
The Jumping Jellyfish crew hoisted a spinnaker in a last desperate throw of the dice to win the race, but Jubilee took the gun, by just one second. It was sometime before Shadowfax crossed the line in eighth, but after doing the mathematics, she was declared Lifedge J/109 UK National Champion on count back. Literally one second had decided the result after three days of intense racing.
David Rolfe was too shell-shocked to speak about the win, but having been thrown in the marina by his crew he managed to stutter. “I really can't believe we've done it, we are all great friends that have sailed with each other for years and this is by far the greatest moment in all that time, thank you to the organisers and all of the competitors for making this such a fantastic regatta.”
The official prize giving was held at the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth with a fine buffet supper celebrating the J-Cup 2013 in partnership With B&G. Surrounded by the UK's biggest collection of marine life, the regatta came to a close and the organisers are not aware of anyone ending up in the shark pool.